This is the second album by ex Blues Clues host and musician Steve Burns, this time he works with Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips and Ryan Smith of A Million Billion who make up the struggle part of the group’s title.
‘Projecting’ opens with a pleasant cacophony of beats and instruments that really sounds like a garage band, I can even hear the trash cans in place of actually drums. But for the stripped down and unprocessed sound it’s still a really good track, it isn’t poor quality and it doesn’t sound unfinished, instead it sounds like a band that know their style and are very much trying to just make music without worrying about it too much. The result is something like this that sounds very real and in my opinion is well worth a listen.
‘The Newton Creek Song’ is different to the first track, the previous track sounded like harmonious chaos, this is far more streamlined and balanced and yet it still captures the same quality that I hope will be present in all of his work, this simplicity and dedication to a more genuine sound. I really liked this sound and I expect it’ll make its way onto my end of the world playlist (the collection of my favourite songs ever, that I’d 100% listen to during an apocalypse) it’s been awhile since I’ve heard a song that I really thought was worth it but this track just pulled it out of the bag,
‘The Unbeliever’ has a more classic vibe to it, like out of the tracks so far this one seems more like something you’d expect to hear on a rock album. That’s not to say it doesn’t have that specific quality of Steve Burns music, his singing voice is distinctive enough and something I just noticed, the tracks all have a healthy dose of reverb, which makes sense if we are underwater as the title of the album suggests.
‘Strange [By Galaxie 500]’ has a discordant electronic jangling for an intro which is quickly joined by a softer, melancholic tone to balance it out, the jangling doesn’t go away too soon though, it acts as an almost pulse for the song, and pops up as an undertone throughout the track, Burns is also joined by another voice and she adds a lot to the song with her harmonies with Burns. I said the last track had a more classic rock feel, this one is very different, almost enough to be jarring but not quite. Its mellow and yet it’s not too slow, it’s the perfect thing for a live performance and being honest it’s one of those tracks that just sounds haunting.
‘A Slightly Bigger Space’ has a delightful intro with light plucking chords that are offset really well by Burns slightly rasping voice. Like a lot of the songs on this album, and his last one its tonally quite similar, not quite slow, not quite sad but definitely not something that’d be out of place on a hipster romance movie, right about the scene where they break up and are trying to live without each other again, but before they get back together. What I’m trying to say is they capture a certain mood really well, and they are very honest tracks as well.
‘Tiger Tiger (The Angie Song)’ has a piano opening, its far more upbeat than the last track, at least on the instrumental side, as I said previously Burns voice is well suited to a more melancholic song, but when balanced up with something that’s a little quicker and a little different , the best qualities of both his voice and the music are brought out. There is a particular bit around the 2 and a half minute mark that it’s amazing, it just build up really well, I feel like the electronic beeps and boops were overdone slightly but the weren’t bad enough to impact the song in my opinion.
‘Lords of Cobble Hill’ classic acoustic guitar intro and Burns voice works well with the chords, this is one of the longer tracks on the album and has a reasonably long instrumental section, which I believe served to wind things down after the more energised previous track.
‘Leviticus’ opens with a beautiful set of harmonising voices that sounds almost like angels (which makes sense considering the biblical name choice for the track) before it’s joined by grungy guitars and drums, like something that wouldn’t be out of place in Mad Max. The song does change midway through, becoming smoother, more easy going, in a strange blend of style which nonetheless works.
‘A Very Troubled Day’ opens with a countdown and various stringed instruments, different from the other tracks so far it does maintain the trend of being relatively slow, although I wouldn’t classify this as melancholic as I would the other tracks. It’s a nice closer to the album, taking a little of the angelic harmony of the previous track, but overall it’s simple, heavy on the instrumental and well worth a listen.
And that’s what I thought of Steve Burns and the Struggle Album ‘Deep Sea Recovery Efforts’ I wasn’t able to find a place to actually buy the album but I’ll update the review if and when that changes, however that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to it yourself just check it out on Youtube.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org